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Christine San José (1929–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

Born 1929, in Leicester, Leicestershire, England; Education: London University, B.A. Dip.Ed.; Syracuse University, Ph.D. Politics: "Part of one's effort to be thoughtful, compassionate, and constructive."


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Publicity Director, Boyds Mills Press, 815 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431.


Educator, editor, and writer. Worked as a teacher at elementary, secondary, and college level. Highlights for Children, Columbus, OH, senior editor for twelve years.

Honors Awards

National Council of Teachers of English award for research into children's writing; educational award for teacher center program.


Ketchup Goes to Town, illustrated by Ethel Gold, Highlights for Children (Columbus, OH), 1990.

Sir Good Is on His Way, illustrated by Marilyn Thomason, Highlights for Children (Columbus, OH), 1992.

(Reteller) Cinderella, illustrated by Deborah Santini, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1994.

The Adventures of the Amazing Mazers: Hidden Pictures and Maze Games, illustrated by Charles Jordan, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1994.

(Reteller) The Little Match Girl, illustrated by Anastassiaja Archipowa, Carline House (Honesdale, PA), 1994, illustrated by Kestutis Kasparavicius, 2002.

(Reteller) The Hidden Picture Book of Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Charles Jordan, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1995.

(Reteller) Sleeping Beauty, illustrated by Dominic Catalano, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1997.

(Reteller) The Emperor's New Clothes, illustrated by Anastassiaja Archipowa, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1998.

Work in Progress

Poetry anthologies for Boyds Mills Press; a picture-book retelling of The Six Wild Swans; and an historical trilogy for young adults.


English-born author, editor, and teacher Christine San José worked as a teacher before devoting twelve years to work as senior editor of Highlights for Children magazine. Writing throughout her adult life, she has penned teaching materials for instructors as well as students, and stories for adults, but her best-known works are the picture books she has published, many based on classic tales. San José's titles include Cinderella and The Little Match Girl, the latter based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen.

San José presents readers with a fresh take on Charles Perrault's 1697 version of the classic story of Cinderella by setting the backdrop for the story in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Manhattan. Cinderella is no longer a passive lead character; in San José's version the young woman takes on a more assertive, modern outlook. In The Bridge, a Boyds Mills Press press release, the author explained: "I knew my starting point had to be a Cinderella far stronger than the vapid if good-natured girl Charles Perrault bequeathed to us…. I reasoned that if she's strong, she must have gained her strength from someone who believed in her at some stage of her young life. So, in the very first sentence I gave her a mama."

Faced with rewriting The Little Match Girl for younger readers, San José found herself with a bit of a dilemma from the start: How to portray a world in which death is viewed as a means to deal with hardship, as in Andersen's original tale? She decided the best option would be to stick to the true essence of the story and maintain what Andersen so poignantly crafted. "I also pointed out as much as I could the contrast between a spiritual world and the match girl's world and showed the little girl consciously choosing the spiritual," San José explained in The Bridge. Reacting to the 2002 book, which features illustrations by Kestutis Kasparavicius, Virginia Walter wrote in a School Library Journal review that it represents "a faithful" version of the original tale. Carolyn Phelan commented in a Booklist review of San José's The Little Match Girl that the book focuses on "surely the most pathetic figure in children's literature," yet also stands as a "a respectful rendering of the classic tale."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, September 15, 1995, April Judge, review of The Little Match Girl, p. 172; October 15, 1997, Julie Corsaro, review of Sleeping Beauty, p. 410; April 1, 1998, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Emperor's New Clothes, p. 1334; October 1, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Little Match Girl, p. 329.

Publishers Weekly, November 4, 2002, review of The Little Match Girl, p. 86.

Reading Teacher, December, 1995, review of Cinderella, p. 329; September, 1998, review of Sleeping Beauty, p. 58.

School Library Journal, September, 1994, Donna L. Scanlon, review of Cinderella, p. 235; November, 1995, Donna L. Scanlon, review of The Little Match Girl, p. 64; September, 1997, Donna L. Scanlon, review of Sleeping Beauty, p. 208; April, 1998, Marilyn Iarusso, review of The Emperor's New Clothes, p. 112; October, 2002, Virginia Walter, review of The Little Match Girl, p. 56.


Boyds Mills Press Web site, http://www.boydsmillspress.com/ (December 19, 2005), "Christine San José."


The Bridge (Boyds Mills Press press release), Christine San José, "Retelling the Grand Old Tales."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dan Jacobson Biography - Dan Jacobson comments: to Barbara Knutson (1959–2005) Biography - Personal